Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Siren Sings To Ingrid

One of the nice things about knowing people who are creative, is being able to steal ideas from them.
Almost as much fun, is coming up with an idea resulting from a silly conversation.

Innini and I set each other a sort of challange. To write a story, but that it had to pertain, roughly, to Halloween.

It had to be set in Norway, had to incorporate the fishing industry, and it had to have a mermaid in there somewhere.

Easy peasy!

We didn't quite meet the Halloween deadline obviously, but that wasn't important.

What was interesting, was the different style and approach used.

My story, is fiction, and written with a particular cadence of speech and thought that differs very much from my own.

Innini's story, about which she will explain a little more in her post, is true, in that everything that happens, actually did happen.

And, it's written in a nice, flowing natural style.

But why don't you make up your own mind, and read our stories for yourself?

Diary of Ingrid Engelstad, Fisheries officer, Narvik office.
My name is Ingrid Engelstad, and this is my diary.
I have never kept a diary before, so, this is new.
I think I will try and write in it as often as I can, perhaps not every day, because that may not be possible.
And, sometimes I will forget, I sometimes forget about new things, until something reminds me.

September 3rd, Tuesday 
I live in Narvik, but I am not from here. I was born on a farm near Borkenes.
When I was 10 my parents were in a car accident, and they died. My uncle took over our farm.
I did not like my uncle, so, I left to come live with my second cousins here in Narvik, when I was 13.
I have been here ever since. I like living here, most of the time. I am married but I do not have any children, I do not think we will have any now.
My older brother still lives on the farm, and a few years ago he made my uncle leave. It caused a lot of trouble, and I was happy I was not involved.
My brother was angry when I did not help him, and now he does not talk to me.
That is a shame, as I miss him and I miss going to the farm to visit.

September 12th, Thursday
Today I went out with Elisabeth. I work with her sometimes, and get on well with her, she is a friend. I am her supervisor but, we don't work like that really.
We spent the day doing the count on the Lakselv river, it was a bit boring but Elisabeth makes me laugh with her funny comments, so I didn't mind too much.
Some Sundays I ask her to come to dinner, and I am always glad when she does. We enjoy her company.

September 14th, Saturday 
I am tired today. I did not sleep well, because of my nightmares, which I sometimes have. They can make me upset, and it takes a while to relax again so I can go back to sleep. Sometimes I just can't, and I have to get up.
My husband gets upset too, he says it scares him. I wish I could stop having the nightmares but, they just happen. Nobody can control what they dream about. The nightmares are usually all about the same thing. I am in the car with my parents and the truck hits us. I was hurt but not too much, my parents were though. I think my father died straight away, but I know my Mother did not. I hate having those dreams.

September 23rd, Monday 
Something strange happened today. I was taking samples at the shore, near Beisfjord, and I think I saw something. I'm not sure what it was, it looked like a seal of some sort, but it was unusual. I tried to take a picture but it was gone by the time I was ready.
I felt very tired all of a sudden, and had to sit down on the sand. I sat there for a while, I was daydreaming I think, I thought I heard something too.
Maybe I've been working out here alone for too long haha! If Elisabeth was there she would have made fun of me I know. So, I don't think I'll mention it to her.

October 11th, Friday 
It has been a difficult week, and I'm glad it's over. This is a very busy time of year for me, and I have to meet twice a week with the off-shore people.
That can be hard, because they have a bad attitude, or at least I think so. But it has to be done so I do the best I can.
By right, my manager should do this, he is the liaison officer. I think they get me to do it because I am patient and do not get frustrated.
Maybe I don't show it, but I think I get as frustrated as anyone else.
I was late home this evening, I thought I would go out to Beisfjord before I finished up. I was there a while, until it became to dark to do anything.
I did not see anything this time. But I did hear that sound again, and I stayed listening for, maybe an hour. It is hard to describe the sound, a sort of keening but in ways it sounds like music, a song, a nice song. I wish I knew where it came from, I think I must find out if I can.
I thought my husband would be annoyed that I was so late but he was not, thankfully.

October 17th, Friday 
I have had nightmares every night this week. It has been difficult, I am very tired and my husband is sleeping in the other bedroom now.
I find this very upsetting. When I wake up from the bad dreams, I am alone, and it feels even worse.
I have been in the office doing the quarterly logs and reports, it is taking up all my time, and I have not been out. I miss that, it's the part of the job I like best. Elisabeth should be helping me but she has work going on at her home so she has to leave a little early most days, while I have to stay late.
I cover for her, as best I can, even though it is making things hard for me.

October 18th, Saturday 
It is 3:45, I cannot sleep now. I dreamt of it again, but this time it was worse than usual. Most times I wake up, sort of early into the scene inside the car, but tonight I could not. It was as if the nightmare held me prisoner, and did not allow me to wake up and escape until it had finished with me.
My Father is half way through the windscreen and is not moving. The car on its side and pointing sort of upwards against the steep bank at the road side, and has crushed his upper body. I am trapped in the back of the car, the seats have moved back and I am held in place, my leg is broken. There is a lot of noise, engine noise, the truck is hard against the car and it's engine is still running, I can smell it, taste it almost, that hot metal and diesel odor.
My Mothers head is turned back towards me, she is looking at me, she cannot talk, but she is blinking, slowly. The dash board is against her and the steering column has impaled her, it is sticking out through the back of her seat. she blinks and tries to say something to me but only blood comes out. It falls on me and I am covered in it, I think I am screaming and soon I cannot see anymore, my eyes are full of her blood, it is on my face and in my mouth too.
I wish I could stop dreaming of this.

October 21st, Monday 
Today I got a letter from my regional manager. In it she states concerns about my work, that my reports and bag counts are being investigated.
I am very confused about this, because I am careful in my work and take it very seriously. I do not do what some officers do and make a best guess estimate. I know my work is good.
So, at lunch time I went out to Beisfjord. I feel like this is the only place I can feel at peace now, because of what is happening at work and because home life is not good either. We are arguing a lot, and I do not know why. I hate arguing and try to make things ok but, my husband is unhappy and will not listen to me.
I went to the edge of the water and waited a while, it wasn't long before I heard it. For a while it was as if I were asleep, without nightmares, and I wanted to go out into the water to meet it, or something, it is hard to explain. 
I felt much better afterwards, and had an idea about work, so, I will do some investigations of my own tomorrow, and see what I can find.

October 28th, Wednesday 
I now have no doubt in my mind, that my work has been altered before being logged. I always keep my own records and drafts. They do not tally with what the regional office has received. Mistakes are made, of course, but not on this scale. If this situation is allowed to stand, I may be fired, on suspicion of altering records to favour or benefit commercial interests.
I think I have enough of my own data to counter the investigation, in fact I am sure of it. But I do not want to do this until I find out why this has happened, and who could have done it.
I have also realised, that I do not have nightmares for at least a week, after I have visited Beisfjord.
This is also something I must also investigate.

Novermber 11th, Monday 
It has been 2 weeks since I wrote here. Strange things have happened, maybe I should not write them down. But keeping this diary has been good for me, and helps me think about things more clearly.
I spoke to my husband about the difficulty I have been going through at work. I was surprised when he was not supportive. We began arguing again, but before it got very bad I left the house.
Of course, I drove to Beisfjord. It was night time but there was still a lot of light, sometimes it does not get truly dark here at night.
I parked the car and got out, and began to hear the song as I walked from the woods to the shore. By the time I was at the water it was loud, in my ears at least, louder and nicer than ever before. I did not pause to stop and walked into the sea.
The water was soon up over my waist, but then I could not go any further because of a thick tangle of kelp. It must have been cold, but I did not feel it.
I paused there, not knowing what to do next, and then she came to me. 
She was terrible and beautiful. Her skin was the colour of that of a drowned corpse, a leeched and pickled white. Her eyes were a solid black, no pupil or iris to be seen, reflecting the pale light like fresh pitch. Thin grey lips stretched across a mouth too wide, she smiled at me, and it seemed her maw was packed with needle like teeth, all askew much like one of those creatures that live down in the far depths. She rose higher from the water, the seaweed clinging to her, and stretched out her arms to embrace me. I could see through her awful features to a beauty beneath, something ancient, an undying lust and hunger, an overwhelming loneliness. Her mouth opened, wide, almost unhinging her jaw it seemed, as she embraced me and leaned to what I knew would be a first and final kiss. I closed my eyes, I welcomed it.
But she stopped, and when I opened my eyes again she was looking into them, I could feel her pushing into my mind, ransacking it somehow. A cold black tongue slid from her still open mouth and touched against my face, tasting, touching my eyes, my forehead, lapping against my skin, tasting something, relishing it but...the song changed and now became wistful, but...just as enticing. I felt her release me but I stayed her hands, and for a long minute I saw what I could only think of as surprise and some delight in her savage eyes.
When I came to my senses I was back ashore. I do not remember returning. I began to feel terribly cold almost immediately, and the song was getting fainter all the while. I stayed there long enough to hear it fade completely, before turning and making my way back to where I had parked the car.
I sat inside and begun to shiver violently, barely able to turn the key and start the engine, I had to wait until the heater warmed me enough so that I could drive safely.

November 19th, Tuesday
I have not been out to the sea for a week, but, when I sleep, I fall asleep to the sound of her singing.
And I have not had my nightmare since.

November 21st, Thursday
I had lunch today with Elisabeth, and I'm glad I did. It felt so good to have someone I can talk to about my work problems. I did not go through every detail but just told her I had been questioned over the last count on the Lakselv . I wanted to know if she had kept any paperwork or notes, but she did not.
She was getting cross with herself, because this would have helped me. But I told her it was ok, that I had my own notes at home and that they would be enough.
I have already been through the issue with my direct manager, and showed him all my notes and back-up data. He agreed with me and is in contact with the regional office, to clear things up. It is a huge relief for me. I feel better than I have for a long time, at work at least.
Things are still bad at home, I am trying my best, but nothing seems to work, I don't know what to do. It's as if he cannot stand to be around me anymore, it breaks my heart because I still love him so much.

November 24th, Sunday 
Last night, I was feeling restless and could not sleep. I got up and went to the spare room I use as an office sometimes. I knew straight away that someone had been in there, things were not as I had left them. Sitting at my desk I looked at the paper tray I use. My details of the last count were uppermost and I did not leave them in that order.
I sat there for some time, looking at the pieces of paper I had taken from the tray, and had in my hand. I could see where the staple in the corner had been removed, and reapplied. I could see that the papers had not been laid evenly along both sides and where a few were sticking out a little, something I hate, even though I know it is not important.
And I thought for a long time about what it meant, and I could not help but weep.

November 25th, Monday 
I sat by the waters edge today, and turned everything over in my mind again and again. Her song flowed 'round me all the while.
After a while it was as if it was talking to me, and when I listened properly, she told me what I might do, if I wanted to.

November 26th, Tuesday 
Today I told Elisabeth that I had come close to finding out what had happened with my reports and would soon know how it had happened.
She wanted to know straight away but I did not tell her.
Instead I said that I had somewhere to visit, and what I would find there would provide the last piece of this strange puzzle.
After work, I got into my car and drove as if for home, but after a kilometer I turned and drove out towards Beisfjord.
When I got there, I parked my car and got out, and went into the trees a little distance, and waited.
Within a few minutes, Elisabeth's car pulled up alongside mine. When she got out, I let her look around for a few seconds before emerging and calling to her.
She was a little surprised I think but she didn't say so. Instead she said she was worried about me, that she had followed me
and wanted to help if she could.
I told her if she really wanted to help, she should come with me, and I turned away and walked back into the trees, towards the sea.
I knew she would follow.
I walked past the little cove shore, and out along the headland, where the hillside sloped down into the water, shedding its covering of grass and earth, becoming a rough jumble of naked rock. The water is very deep there.
Standing on the rock, I turned to see Elisabeth making her way carefully towards me. I waited until she was close enough for me to reach out and take her hand, and told her to be quiet if should could, and to listen.
Elisabeth's look of confusion began to change almost instantly...I knew she could hear it, even though, this time, I could not.
She began to speak but I gestured for her to remain silent, and Elisabeth's frown then eased, and she took on the look of someone daydreaming, eyes unfocused and far away.
She turned towards the water, leaning out, as if trying to get closer to the source of the song in her ears. When I pushed her, she did not make any attempt to stay herself, hitting the cold grey green surface headfirst. It was only then she came out of her trance like state, gasping and beginning to flail her arms. But by then, it was too late.
Pale arms slid from the water and clasped Elisabeth tightly, pinioning her arms in place. Her eyes were so wide, and her screaming so loud, as she realised that something had come from the water and had taken hold of her. She looked at me as she screamed but then turned her head to stare into those black eyes, and see the jagged smile, a horribly willing welcome.
Elisabeth's screams ceased as the mermaid kissed her, her eyes now on me again, full of begging, terror and seawater, blood erupting suddenly, startling in colour, so rich and red against the grey green, and then she was gone, dragged below to some never seen depths. A slick of crimson floated on the water for a moment, before being swept away.

December 16th, Monday
The investigation into my reporting has ended, and I have received an apology from my regional manager. The only thing that is making this not such a happy event is Elisabeth's disappearance. I have been questioned by the police, as a matter of course, and so have all that were in her immediate work group. They have no leads at this time.
But work is better now than than it has been for a long time.
My husband fell ill for a while, and is very slow to recover, staying in bed a lot and being generally miserable about the house.
I find him looking at me sometimes, in a strange way, but I don't mind, I always smile back to let him know everything is alright.
But I hope he gets better soon. It is getting a bit tiresome having him mope around all the time.
Who knows, maybe some music might cheer him up?

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